Vibiana Wedding in LA | Steven & Cynthia
Vibiana Wedding in LA | Steven & Cynthia

Steven and Cynthia’s Vibiana Wedding on December 30th of 2017 was one that I have been anxiously waiting to blog. First, let me explain that I won’t shoot New Year’s Eve weddings, no exceptions, and if you’ve read this story you’ll understand why. That is a holiday that our family spends together and we typically go away for a few days. When the groom, Steven, first contacted me, I initially decided against entertaining the idea. Not only was the wedding on December 30th, but it was in LA. No, the wedding wasn’t on New Year’s Eve, but since it was in LA I wouldn’t be getting home until the 31st, and who knows what time. Simply out of curiosity due to Steven mentioning in his email that he was a Leica photographer, I decided to talk with him about the wedding. After about of what was probably longer than an hour of talking on the phone, I walked into the living room as Sandi was playing with Luke and told her I was going to break our New Years Eve rule. Well, partially, I would be flying back home early on the 31st.

There were a lot of reasons why I decided to take the wedding, but I can only share a couple of them. I’m also only able to share a handful of photos approved by the bride and groom. The groom told me how he was a photographer who was raised on shooting Leica cameras since his father shot with them. Steven also owned a very rare Leica lens (35mm Summilux double aspherical) that he would be shooting himself throughout the day and asked if I would shoot with it as well, which I did. A few of those photos are mixed in the gallery below. The other reason that I’ll tell you about has to do with the style in which him and his fiance, Cynthia, wanted me to photograph their wedding. They requested that I shoot the entire wedding day 100% photojournalistic. No posing, no directing, no moving things around, they didn’t want me being hands-on whatsoever. I was going to be a fly on the wall creatively and artistically capturing the day as it played out in front of me. Challenge accepted.

This was something that I had never done to this extent before. Sure, we do shoot in a documentary/photojournalistic style during certain parts of the wedding day, but not to this extent. There are always times when we are hands-on at least at some point and especially during portraits. This would be a challenge and one that I wanted to take on. With the right prep, I knew I would enjoy shooting this style and while there was certainly a lot of pressure it was an awesome experience. This type of style takes a lot of prep working with the clients ahead of time, so I flew out early and spent most of the day before the wedding with Steven and Cynthia going over every detail that was planned for the day and how they envisioned it being captured. The most difficult challenge would be simply trying my best not to miss any key moments. I had to be on my toes at all times, and once the day got started, there was to be no interaction between myself and the clients or guests. I was there to capture their story as creatively and artistically as possible, without altering it whatsoever.

Sandi sat this one out, so I brought Austin with me. Here are a handful of photos that I’m able to share, which consist mostly of bride prep, photos of the bride and groom together, family, and the reception. Steven and Cynthia built photo albums for each family, which were made up of photos taken from as far back as they could find. This was the most unique idea I had ever seen at a wedding, and watching each family member flip through the albums, full of emotion, was an incredible experience. The reception was also unique and very different than typical wedding receptions. There were performances, singers, but the best part had to have been when Steven played the piano while Cynthia danced with her father. As you flip through these photos, remember that there was a lot of work put in ahead of time by the bride and groom knowing exactly the type of photos that they wanted to have captured. While not being able to interject their own ideas or thoughts might freak some photographers out, I love this approach, and not a single one of these photos consisted of me interacting with the clients. It was easily the most challenging, yet most rewarding wedding that I’ve shot. I also made it home by 3pm on the 31st and spent New Years with the family.

Most of these photos were taken with the Leica SL and M10.

Steven and Cynthia’s response to seeing their photos for the first time:

“These photos are wonderful and beyond our wildest expectations.  Cynthia has said that she has never seen herself look so beautiful as in the photos taken by you and Austin.  We believe the photos you took have truly captured the emotions of that day.  You were able to figuratively freeze time for us, allowing us to look back, and we want to let you know how truly grateful we are. Our wedding was so fleeting, just a few hours of one day, but with your help we have a lasting memory”.


Wedding Gown: Vera Wang

Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Groom’s Tux: Armani

Wedding Planner: Aliana Events


Jay Cassario


Rangefinder Magazine Feature 


  • Jim

    Truly beautiful.

  • Gees! What a wedding day! I love those walking street shots in particular, great motion to it all.

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